Nathala is a four-player trick-taking game, in which the standard international 52-card pack is used. Players are divided into 2 teams in fixed partnerships, partners facing each other. The game is normally played counter-clockwise.
Dealing and Cards
At the beginning of each round, one card is exposed to all players, the suit of this card is the Hokm suit for that round. 13 cards are then dealt out to each player with the dealer taking the exposed one. The cards in each suit ranking from low to high: 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - J - Q - K - A.
Bidding begins with the player to the dealer's right and continues counterclockwise. The bids are numbers, representing the number of tricks that the bidder undertakes to win. The lowest bid is 1 and the highest is 13. A player who does not wish to bid at their turn can pass. If all four players pass on their first turn to bid, the hand is thrown in and re-dealt by the same dealer. If the sum of bids of a team exceeds 13, the first player's bid in that team is changed to "Pass". If one or more players bid 8 or more, the one with the highest bid is given the chance to change the Hokm suit, and if there's more than one player with the same high bid, then only the player who bid first is given that chance. If the Hokm suit is changed, the bids of all other players are changed to "Pass".
- If the Hokm suit is changed, the player who changed it leads the first trick, otherwise the player on the dealer's right leads and players must follow suit. Each trick is won by the highest card and the winner of each trick leads the next.
- Any players unable to follow suit have the option to use the Hokm, which are considered the highest among other cards, the winner of the trick is the player who use a Hokm card, unless a higher Hokm is used by another player.
- Round ends when players are out of cards.
- To win, each team must at least get the sum of its members' bids.
- If the sum is between 2 and 7 and the team wins, they get their sum of bids multiplied by 10 added to their score. If the team loses, the same amount is subtracted from their score.
- If the sum of bids is 8 or more and the Hokm suit was changed and the team wins, they also get the sum of their bids multiplied by 10 added to their score. Iif the team loses, the sum of their bids multiplied by 20 is subtracted from their score.
- If the sum of bids is 8 or more and the Hokm suit wasn't changed and the team wins, they get the sum of their bids multiplied by 20 added to their score. If the team loses, they only get the sum of bids multiplied by 10 subtracted from their score.
- The game ends when one team reaches a score of 500 or more and that team is considered the winner, or when one team reaches a score of -500 or less and that team is considered the loser.